It’s finally happened. You’re fed up with your job, and you want a change. Or maybe you were downsized and need to find work.
Job hunting sucks. It’s hard. It’s basically a full-time job — searching, applying, refining, interviewing. If you’re already employed, you’re doing a second job and not getting paid for it; if you’re unemployed or underemployed, it’s demoralizing work that is unfortunately not fruitful nearly as often as it should be.
And then there’s the technical stuff. Here’s six of the worst parts of applying for jobs in the technical age.
6. Walled Gardens — I swear everybody and their PHR uses Taleo to handle job applications. Which is great; Taleo on its own is a perfectly fine system where you can put in all your information, upload your files, and submit your application.
But… But everyone has their own account on Taleo, and none of the accounts talk to each other, and by the time you’ve gone through their system four or five times you’ve stopped updating cover letters, fine-tuning resumes, and bothering to respond to free-form questions. If only the Taleo accounts would talk to each other. If only you could remember your password each time.
5. Application Systems — The other problem here is that sometimes the application systems don’t work. You get timed out; your files aren’t the right extension; your formatting gets screwed up; you type the same thing twenty times a day… And we wonder why there are so many articles about bad resumes and bad applications.
But… But before any of that, you have to create a password. Which hopefully you’ll remember. I never do, because I use a different password for everything, for security purposes — I mean, these people have a lot of my personal information.
4. Search All The Things — Before you apply, of course, you have to search. Everyone knows about Indeed, Careerbuilder, and Monster, but those are only the big job boards, where pretty much everything shows up. However, if you want to filter out the jobs you don’t need, aren’t qualified for, or can’t imagine yourself doing, you’ll have better luck on a niche board — Dice, MedZilla, CyberCoders, and so on.
But… But you need accounts so you can apply instantly. You need to learn how to search these sites. You need to set up search agents and e-mail alerts. You need to log back into these sites. You need to cope with constant redesigns. And of course you have to remember to check them all every day, correlate the jobs you apply for on (for example) Dice with the jobs you apply for on (for example) Monster so you don’t double-apply. And don’t forget that you can apply on LinkedIn, too.
3. So Much For Social Media Privacy — Your social media accounts are going to be scrutinized by people who interview you — everything that’s public will be examined, and everything that’s not public will be extrapolated. It takes a lot of time to groom your Facebook account if you haven’t been doing it constantly, and that doesn’t take into account your friends who might post photos of the two of you doing shots in Mexico and make them public. Or, worse, your friends who say “Got blazed last night with John Smith and Jackie Jones! 4:20 4-lyfe!” It’s not so bad if your name is common, but if it’s Strontium Xantippa, you’re screwed. Oh, and forget about checking in anywhere fun on Swarm/Foursquare, too. Too many bars/parties? Nope!
But… But isn’t there a social network just for business? Sure, that’s exactly what LinkedIn is, and we’re all very careful about what we put on there (except for people who refuse to capitalize or proofread). Thing is, if you were going to hire someone, wouldn’t you want all the information you could get? Not just the good stuff.
2. Liar Liar — If you’re already employed, you know the drill: come up with a convincing lie about where you’re going, or take some time off and pretend to be sick. Otherwise you’ll never get into an interview. I mean, companies prefer to hire the already-employed because it indicates that they have employable skills… but they only interview people at a time when they have to work. So they already know they’re going to be hiring a liar, right?
But… This “but” isn’t too bad, but — at some tech companies, it’s pretty much understood that everyone is interviewing all the time. Everyone is looking for the next big thing as soon as possible. It’s just another thing companies have to take into account: how long do you plan to stay at this awesome job they might hire you for?
1. Don’t Drop The Mic — No matter how upset you are, don’t drop the mic and walk out. Don’t leave your boss in the lurch if you can help it. Put together a plan for what to do after you leave. Don’t stop working just because your last day is in two weeks… or one week… or a day. You might have to come back to this company someday, and people are going to remember that stuff.
But… But where can you tell other people about your bad (or good) experiences? The exit interview is all well and good, but no one really looks at those. No, for that you want to go to Glassdoor and write a review of your company. Make it honest and thoughtful, concise yet detailed, and don’t throw any one individual under the bus. That person may someday be your boss again at the new job, and wouldn’t that suck.
Isn’t it great when you go to a company’s careers page, click “apply”, and all it asks for is your name, email, website, and a resume? It doesn’t make you put in all your job history; it doesn’t make you answer silly questions; it doesn’t make you sign up for an account. Why can’t more companies do that?
Got an idea for a future “Six of the Best” column? Tweet it to me @listener42.